HI Hostels Blog

Volunteering in Norway: new people + nature = fun

Ximena, a 32-year-old business woman from Santiago, Chile, is loving her experience as a social volunteer for Bergen Hostel Montana in western Norway. So what inspired her to help hostel guests on a Norwegian hillside?

Ragna Skøien from HI – Norway spoke to her to find out:

“Nobody told me hiking could be fun!” Ximena said with a big smile.

Sheep selfie

One of three social volunteers at hostels dotted across western Norway, she joins Sonia from Bolivia and Anneke from Germany in organising outdoor activities stimulating a social environment for guests.

“I wanted to do something for others, to volunteer. Here in Norway I have had the opportunity to get to know a lot of interesting new people and be the meeting point between hostel guests from all over the world.”

On her arrival, Ximena spent 3 weeks at Bergen Hostel Montana, located on the hillside of Norway’s second biggest city. Here, she took a crash course in how to be a social volunteer, focusing on its basic principle – to be a conversation catalyst between guests.

bergen2 - Trodel
Beautiful Bergen – photo credit: Jim Trodel

What does it involve?

Social volunteers organise activities for, and with, the hostel guests. This can be pretty much anything; from making free coffee and cookies in the afternoon creating a chance for people to speak to each other, to arranging canoe trips or city walks.

Just some of Ximena’s amazing Norwegian experiences as a social volunteer.

No tasks undertaken by daily hostel staff are involved here, purely stretching your wings as a social butterfly.

“What I really love about this programme is that it is all about the people, to get the hostel guests to speak with each other and have fun together” – Ximena says.

One group went kayaking with me in Bergen, and this was an amazing experience which turned us all into a group of friends. That’s what I love! Also, being a social volunteer gives me the chance to choose what activities I think will work the best.”

From the day she landed in Bergen, Ximena fell in love with the Norwegian nature.

“The landscape, the mountains, the centre of Bergen – everything was so beautiful” Ximena describes her first meeting with Western Norway.

“In my home country, a similar culture of outdoor activity does not exist. Here I bike, go for hikes and swim together with the hostel guests. It’s fantastic!”

Sound good? If you’re interested in becoming a social volunteer with HI – Norway, or know someone who would be perfect for the role, visit www.volunteering.no for more information.

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